Meherrin River Regional Jail Earns LEED Certification

The 156,643-square-foot Meherrin River Regional Jail earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification with the U.S. Green Building Council.  Located in Brunswick County, Virginia, the facility consists of two main areas — housing and support spaces.

The Meherrin River Regional Jail Authority (MRRJA) emphasized the importance of conserving energy and water as well as reducing operational costs for the design-build project.  The design and construction team of Moseley Architects and English Construction, who have collaborated on several other LEED certified projects, worked closely with MRRJA to identify the most appropriate high performance and sustainable design strategies, which could address these goals.

Due to the volume of water needed to serve inmate populations, correctional facilities are particularly good candidates for water conservation and efficiency. Consequently, the complex features water-efficient plumbing fixtures to reduce potable water use by an estimated 40 percent, which is projected to save over 2 million gallons of water per year.

The project team also carefully considered ways to increase the complex’s energy efficiency.  Energy use reduction strategies include an efficient heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with energy recovery units, building envelope considerations such as upgraded insulation in the roof and steel cell walls, high-performance glazing, and energy-efficient interior and exterior lighting.  Refrigerants in the cooling system design were selected to minimize ozone depletion and global warming impact to the atmosphere.  During design, the energy efficiency measures were modeled, showing an anticipated reduction in overall energy use of at least 16 percent compared to a building that meets (but does not exceed) the energy code.  Evaluation of the facility’s first year of energy usage data demonstrates that actual performance is close to the modeled predictions, and is better than national benchmarks for Public Order and Safety buildings.  This category also includes less energy intensive project types such as police stations and courthouses; therefore it is a significant accomplishment for a correctional facility to outperform this benchmark.

English Construction carefully managed construction waste to see that 87 percent, or 80 tons, of waste were sent to a recycling facility and diverted from area landfills.  Additionally, the regionally manufactured metal building and steel cells contributed to over 50 percent of all building materials being made with recycled content.

The Meherrin River Regional Jail is one of 51 LEED certified projects for Moseley Architects, who have been partnering with clients to meet sustainability and energy efficiency goals for both new and renovated facilities since 2000.